But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. Exodus 10:20.
How does the Lord harden the hearts of men? In the same way in which the heart of Pharaoh was hardened. God sent this king a message of warning and mercy, but he refused to acknowledge the God of heaven, and would not render obedience to His commands. He asked, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?”
The Lord gave him evidence of His power by working signs and miracles before him. The great I AM acquainted Pharaoh with His mighty works, showing him that He was the ruler of heaven and earth, but the king chose to defy the God of heaven. He would not consent to break his proud, stubborn heart even before the King of kings, that he might receive the light; for he was determined to have his own way, and work out his rebellion. He chose to do his own will, and set aside the command of God, and the very evidence given him that Jehovah was above all the gods of the nations, above all the wise men and magicians, only served to blind his mind and harden his heart.
Had Pharaoh accepted the evidence of God’s power given in the first plague, he would have been spared all the judgments that followed. But his determined stubbornness called for still greater manifestations of the power of God, and plague followed plague, until at last he was called to look upon the dead face of his own first born, and those of his kindred; while the children of Israel, whom he had regarded as slaves, were unharmed by the plagues, untouched by the destroying angel. God made it evident upon whom rested His favor, who were His people.
Every additional evidence of the power of God that the Egyptian monarch resisted, carried him on to a stronger and more persistent defiance of God…. This case is a clear illustration of the sin against the Holy Ghost. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gradually the Lord withdrew His Spirit. Removing His restraining power, He gave the king into the hands of the worst of all tyrants—self..
Conflict and Courage p.89
—–Please keep my husband’s family in your prayers, they just loss a cousin, mother, sister, wife….she was all that and more. Thank you! Nellie
—–Eileen has a pre-surgery doctor’s appointment today. Please pray that all tests can be done in time and that all will go well. Rose
When my mother and her sister, Joyce, who was four years younger, were children, they used to wait for the ice man to stop by. In those days people still had ice boxes instead of refrigerators and it was common for children to look forward to the ice man’s visit. As the wagon would pull up in front, they were right there to get their treat. The ice man would always take a pick and chop off a small piece of ice for each of them. They would enjoy its coldness on a hot summer day.
One day Joyce was walking past the fire station. On the ground was a small chunk of ice. Joyce stopped and looked at it. As this ice melted in the summer sun, it gave off a cloud of vapor. Joyce was fascinated. She had never seen ice quite like this before. One of the firemen, winking at the others, asked, “Would you like that piece of ice?”
Joyce was very happy and quickly picked it up and licked it. As soon as her tongue made contact with that dry ice, it stuck fast. Frightened, the child pulled and pulled. She couldn’t get free. What terrible pain! She looked at the men for help, but they were laughing heartily. What a cruel trick to play on an innocent child.
Joyce ran home to her mother, who managed to remove that frozen carbon dioxide from her tongue. However, part of the surface of her tongue stayed on that offending ice. Poor Joyce spent many days in pain. My grandmother was livid with rage and stomped down to that fire station and let those men know in no uncertain terms how cruel they were.
How often others urge us to try something “just once.” The sinful practice looks harmless and attractive to us just as that dry ice looked like regular ice to my aunt so long ago. Soon, we are convinced that it is safe to “lick” it just once, but that “just once” can start us on a lifetime of bondage. That “just once” becomes a strong enemy. That “just once” can cause excruciating pain and bring ruin to our lives. We look to our “friends” for help, but they cannot help us, they are amused at our suffering or they are as bound as we are and as helpless to overcome.
How vital to our present and future happiness that we shut our ears to the enemy or his agents whispered temptations. How important to daily pray, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” Ps 141:3,4 We must do as Paul advises, “flee from idolatry.” “Flee fornication.” “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called.” 1 Cor 10:14, 6:18, James 4:7-101 Tim 6:11.12
May we come to our Great Deliverer and pray as did David, “Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. 0 Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God: thy spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. Ps 143:9-11 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight….Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow….Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise….” Ps 51 May we daily open our heart’s door to Him that He may keep us from falling. May we allow Him not only to cleanse us from all sin, but to allow Him to lead us all the way to His Glorious Kingdom where there will be no tempters or temptations is my prayer.
Hardening of the Heart